Thursday, October 8, 2009
MAYBE I'M BATTY
I currently maintain a tub of water for bats, but I was totally unprepared for a gift of a bat house even though I've been accused of being slightly batty.
You will never know how delighted I was to receive a bat house given that bats are the best thing that ever happened to a mosquito, in my opinion.
I've had several encounters with bats. One got caught in an old fashioned fly strip, those sticky spirals one hangs in the barn to keep down the flies. Its wings were not removable without doing the bat fatal damage and, in the end, I had to kill it. It taught me that the bat would most likely have eaten twice the number of flies in my barn and I never put up another fly strip.
As kids we used to throw rocks wrapped in white cloth up in the air and watch the bats dive bomb them. One time, I scored by clunking a bat on the head and it came down with the rock. We kids stood in awe and opened its wings and got a good look at it. It trembled for a bit before it was able to fly away.
But the most exciting encounter was in Austin, Texas. A bridge there attracts millions of Mexican red bats under its corrugated structure. At dusk, tourists like myself sit comfortably about the banks and watch as the bats take flight in enormous waves from under the bridge to launch themselves on the insect population up and down the river. For me, what is memorable about that experience, is my husband's reaction. He grumbled for days claiming: "I can't believe I'm going to Austin so you can see a bunch of !^#*) bats." When we returned home, all he talked about was those bats. It was quite a sensation.